Rural Development Announces New Policies to Implement 2013 Violence Against Womens Act Amendments

CARH’S BROADCAST E-MAIL – Regulatory Update

February 1, 2017

Earlier this week, RD issued a new Administrative Notice (AN 4814 (1944-N)), designed to implement the 2013 amendments to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Among other things, those amendments prevent owners from refusing to rent or provide assistance to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, and prevents citing acts of violence against women as “good cause” for terminating a lease. The 2013 amendments also allow for bifurcation of a lease, so that a victim can remain in an assisted unit after the abuser is evicted; victims are allowed time to reestablish their eligibility.

One of the most important changes made by the 2013 amendments is to allow tenants in RD units that face a threat of “imminent harm” to request an emergency transfer. If possible, owners should allow tenants to transfer to an available unit under the owner’s control; if none is available, the second option is to “facilitate a transfer to a unit under a different RD Borrower’s control.” Transfer to a non-RD unit is possible, so long as the tenant does not have to reestablish eligibility. Owners can request the victim to certify that they qualify for a transfer.

The RD’s guidance to some extent piggy-backs on HUD’s statements concerning the 2013 VAWA amendments, and points out that HUD is expected to issue additional VAWA guidance later this year, including a Model Emergency Transfer Request Form. The RD’s Administrative Notice includes specific guidance to RD owners to update their Management Plans and Tenant Selection Policies and Occupancy Policies, to reflect changes made by the 2013 amendments to VAWA.

The RD multi-family housing programs affected by VAWA are: Section 515 Rural Rental Housing; Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing; Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing; and Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant programs.

If you have any issues or concerns with the AN, please bring them to CARH’s attention as soon as possible by emailing the national CARH office at


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